'Friends' reruns claim syndie demo crown

With barely two months to go in the 1998-99 season, “Judge Judy” and “Jerry Springer” are in a dead Nielsen heat for the No. 3 spot among all syndie skeins, behind perennial chart-toppers “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!”

The courtshow queen and tawdrytalk ringmaster both have a 6.8 national household average for the season-to-date frame from Sept. 7, 1998, through April 4. As usual, “Wheel” claims the No. 1 spot in households with an 11.6, down 3% from this point last season, followed by “Jeopardy!” (9.7), down 2%.

“Springer” has the edge over “Judge Judy’ in the more important demographic ratings, which determine advertising rates. Studios USA’s “Springer” is averaging a 4.2 in adults 18-49, compared with a 3.0 for Worldvision’s “Judge Judy.”

Crown claimed

However, reruns of “Friends,” which bowed in syndication this season, have already claimed the syndie demo crown with a 4.7 in adults 18-49 and topping most of the other key demo categories as well. “Springer” and reruns of “Seinfeld” are tied for second place with a 4.2 in adults 18-49.

As for the rest of the daytime yak pack, the season-to-date rankings are little changed from 1997-98. King World’s “Oprah Winfrey” is second to “Springer” with a 6.5 in households, down 12% from this time last year, and a 4.2 in the key daytime demo of women 18-49.

Paramount’s “Montel Williams” and Studios USA’s “Sally Jessy Raphael” are nose-to-nose, each with a 3.8 in households and a 2.4 with femmes. Warner Bros.’ “Rosie O’Donnell” is running ahead in the femme demo derby with a 2.6, but its household number was down 20% from year-ago to a 3.7.

Regis, Kathie Lee hang in

Buena Vista TV’s “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee” weighs in at a 3.6 in households and 1.7 with femmes. Columbia TriStar’s “Ricki Lake” has averaged a 3.4 in households and a 2.4 with femmes.

Warner Bros. “Jenny Jones” was down from year-ago levels with a 3.2 in households (3.2) and femmes (2.0). Studios USA’s “Maury Povich” rounded the list with a 3.1 in households, down 3% from year-ago, and a 1.9 with femmes.

Among the season’s freshman strips, courtshows rule, but the jury is still out on which of the two newcomers will win bragging rights for the season. Worldvision’s “Judge Joe Brown” and Rysher Entertainment’s “Judge Mills Lane” are tied in the adults 18-49 demo with a 1.4, while Brown has the edge in households with a 3.0 to Lane’s 2.9.

Twentieth TV’s “Forgive or Forget” leads the frosh talkers with a 1.8 in households and a 1.1 with femmes 18-49.

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